12 New Construction Home Features To Consider Adding To Your "Wish List"

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Services for Real Estate Pros with Stowe Meadows Lodge, Stowe VT Romantic and Luxurious Inn
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12 Home Design Improvement ideas you should consider when building your new home.  These simple gems will return huge dividends and may increase your home's value

Home Design Improvement Ideas - New Construction

There is SO much to consider when building a home.  Whether you are building your primary residence or a vacation home, these tips may help.  Friends of ours stopped by for a visit Saturday afternoon  and were excited to share photos and plans for a new vacation home they are building in Stowe, VT.  This is their first time building and they had just left an 8 hour meeting with their builder and electrician.  Wow!
 
Customizing an existing plan vs building a custom home.  Our friends didn't want a "custom home", they just wanted to customize an existing design to make it more suitable for their family.  Perfect for a couple who cannot be "local" for the project and a couple building their first home.   
 
A collection of great home design ideas that make sense.   My dad, an architect, used to say that it takes building 3 houses to finally get the perfect home.  Most folks aren't up for that challenge!  Over the years, we've learned that the simple, often overlooked features in a home are the ones that we use everyday.  
 
We shared our list of ideas with our friends and they liked most of them.  I thought I'd put them together in a blog post to share with you.   I'm sure other real estate folks will have many, many more great ideas to add to this list.  These are just a few of my personal favorites.
 
Home Features To Consider Adding To Your New Construction Wish List
 
 1) Electrical outlets: 
-  In the mantel:  A must-have to plug in holiday decorations.  Easy to install during construction, not as easy after the fact, especially with a custom mantel or stone mantel.
On the kitchen island:  Wouldn't you think every single builder would just do that?  You'd be shocked at how many don't.  We actually put the outlet right in the middle of a huge island.  It rotates up when we need it and lays down flat when not in use.  The best design we've ever had.
Under each window:  Similar to the mantel outlet, it is surprising how many houses never have outlets under windows. How are you going to plug in those holiday window candles?
Bathroom or laundry closet:  For plugging in shavers, dust busters, etc.
Bedroom:  Extra non-switched outlet(s) at bedside for phones, ipods, laptops, etc.
- Under the vanity in the bathroom.  Not as weird as it sounds.  If you have a vanity in your bath that is designed to have a chair (think, ladies makeup area), having an outlet lets you plug in items like hairdryers and makeup mirrors, then store them under the vanity rather than on top.  No more crowding the vanity top and no more unplugging and storing these items every time you use them.
In the roof soffits:  Here I go again with the Holiday lights...but how about even plugging in things like those winter roof and gutter ice-melt cables. 
In the garden:  Yes, we have been able to add low voltage lighting, lights for our outdoor Christmas tree, even water pumps for the water feature without major hassle because we got the electrician to add outlets in the front and back yard.  Not just on the house, but out in the yard.  Cheap during construction and before that lawn goes in.
 
2) Heated garage:  This went on my list when we built a house in Vermont.  Certainly not for everyone, but I'm a believer in having a garage that is 50 degrees, even when the outside temp is below 10.  A car covered in snow on arrival is snow-free and relatively warm when you head out for skiing the next day.  Our dogs also appreciate having a warmer place to sleep when we don't want them in the house.  Remember, if you decide to heat, you'll want to also insulate the garage, another thing most builders don't do.  More info here.
 
3) Hot water faucet in the garage:  A lot of folks have a cold water spigot in the garage, but adding a hot water line is easy stuff during construction.  No worries about frozen water pipes if you also heat the garage.
 
4) Drain in the garage floor:  Goes along with #2 and #3 and is also great when cleanup time comes for dogs, cars, kids, etc.  Not all areas will allow a garage drain, but if your does, think about adding one. More on garage drains.
 
5) Radiant floor heating:  One of the more expensive items on our list, but now that I've experienced it, there is no going back.  We decided to run the radiant right out to the garage, easy to do in construction, not so much post-construction. More on radiant floor heating.
 
6) Driveway alarm:  I am thankful for this every single day. We have a driveway that is just over a quarter mile long and I wouldn't be able to see or hear cars turn into my drive until they were outside my door.  When I hear the alarm, I look out to see who is coming...and it gives me about 2 minutes to 'get ready'.  More info on driveway alarms.
 
7) Mud Room:  Another idea that may be more of a cold-weather climate idea.  A small area that can accommodate wet, muddy, snowy shoes near a side or back entrance is a must-have for our family.  Ideally, we can close this area off to keep the mess somewhat contained / undetectable.  A bonus in this area; coat hooks, bench and even a cleanup sink or 1/2 bath, especially with children!
 
8) Cold Temp and Water Leak Alarms:  Think second home in a cold part of the country.  Our friends needed to add this because they weren't going to be in their home for long stretches of time.  If your home loses electricity and you don't have a backup generator to power the furnace, pipes may freeze and you'll have a major mess. Or, if the freezer decides to defrost, or the washing machine blows, you'll want to know.   In nearly 25 years of living "up north", we've had a cold-temp alarm go off twice and water alarm once.  I was really, really glad we had them.
 
9) Standby Backup Generator:  Whether you actually buy the generator when you move in, or you wait til another time, having your home pre-wired to accept a stand-by generator is a great thing to do.....and much easier to take care of during initial electrical setup. Just having the wiring in place improves your home's value.  While you're at it, pour a concrete slab to put the generator on.  Better early than waiting till the lawn is in.  How to choose a standby generator.
 
10) Wiring for extras like speakers (indoor and outdoor), security systems, etc.   Again, whether you add these things on move-in or prep for later, running wire before sheetrock/drywall is way better than after.  Most folks think of speaker wire, but not everyone thinks to run the wires to their 3-season porch or deck.  Put a volume control in each location to...you'll be glad you did.
 
11) Outdoor ceiling fans - Fans in 3-season porches or on covered patios and balconies is another over-looked great idea.  It is amazing how much a nice fan breeze can improve your ability to sit outside.  Even with our hard winter weather, our outdoor porch ceiling fans have lasted over 10 years without a hitch.  It also helps shoo the bugs away so we can eat outside in the summer.
 
12) Empty PVC pipe under the driveway:   You never know what you are going to want to fish under your driveway one day.  Invisible dog fence wire?  Electrical?  Who knows.  Just put in a path from one side to the other and you may avoid cutting through your driveway one day.  Cheap and easy to do, before the driveway goes in.
 
Are any of these interesting to you?  Do you have other ideas?  Let us know.  I love this stuff and enjoy passing along ideas to friends.
 
Cheers!
Caroline
 
Photo credit:  Barb Henry
Posted by

Caroline DeVore Caroline DeVore - Stowe Meadows Lodge - Realtor
 
Tel: 802.888.0002 |  Mbl: 617-803-7222 
Web: StoweMeadows.com
Email: Caroline@StoweMeadows.com
 
 
 

The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose.

Caroline DeVore ©2010-2013   Stowe Meadows ©2010-2013

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Rainmaker
428,802
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
Realtor, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Wow!  This is a terrific list!  I'm bookmarking and suggesting this!  I haven't thought of many of these ideas, which really would make life much easier.

Buyers may also want to add a central vacuum system, which can be added after the fact but certainly is easier during construction.  Along with the mantel outlet, also include the TV cable outlet with a "smurf" tube (conduit) for the TV cable and electrical cords for hanging a TV over the fireplace.  

 

Dec 12, 2011 06:02 PM #1
Rainmaker
247,707
Tony Morganti
RE/MAX Crossroads in Cuyahoga Falls and Stow, Ohio - Cuyahoga Falls, OH
CRS, ABR - Cuyahoga Falls, Stow

Caroline -  this is a fantastic list!  I especially like the back-up generator but the pvc pipe under the driveway is simply brilliant!  I am going to save this one for future reference!  Thank you.

Dec 12, 2011 11:11 PM #2
Rainer
71,846
Caroline DeVore, Stowe Vermont Lodging, VT Bed and Breakfast Inn, Vacation Homes
Stowe Meadows Lodge, Stowe VT Romantic and Luxurious Inn - Stowe, VT
Caroline DeVore | Stowe Meadows Lodge, Stowe VT

Hi Francine,  Yes!!  Shame on me, I should have added all of that "stuff" for the future TV that just may take center stage over the fireplace.  One caution, don't put that stuff in the wall above the mantel, hide it IN the mantel.  I bought a house once with a huge ugly square of plugs, HDMI, Cable, etc all in the wall.  I'm sure the builder thought it was genius, but we didn't want our TV up there so I always had to camouflage that area.

Hey Tony,  After trying to find any possible way around cutting through our driveway for an invisible fence, I decided to add that to my list.  CHEAP before paving, impossible after.

 

Dec 13, 2011 01:25 AM #3
Rainmaker
2,573,729
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

I have to run to my AR meet up right now, but I just wanted to say thank you for your comment on my post today.  You made my day!

this looks great.  I just suggested and I'm abt to subscribe to your blog.

Dec 13, 2011 10:18 AM #4
Anonymous
JeanineBroderick

Hi,

Thank you for such a great list.  I Googled for some ideas for a new home we are designing and your list is the most unique and very helpful.

It is an exciting time to build.

Last week I saw a show where a very easily trained robot was demonstrated and the thing only costs 22,000.  It is designed for manufactoring but I could see that Rosie (robot main from the futuristic cartoon) is not far off at that price point I can see a kitchen where I program the robot what to cook and it gets done.  I hope they also figure out what to do about short-circuits and water so it can do the clean up as well.  Wouldn't that be awesome?

At that price point and considering a few years of eating out far less I think it would actually be economical in the near future.  I am trying to figure out what sort of features would facilitate my own Rosie - I am thinking pantry shelves where "Rosie" can read the UPC codes easily.  Maybe they will create a grid and I can just program the grid to know where things are and Rosie would take it from there.  I am so looking forward to the future while I enjoy now.

 

Jan 21, 2013 06:07 AM #5
Anonymous
JeanineBroderick

Hi,

Thank you for such a great list.  I Googled for some ideas for a new home we are designing and your list is the most unique and very helpful.

It is an exciting time to build.

Last week I saw a show where a very easily trained robot was demonstrated and the thing only costs 22,000.  It is designed for manufactoring but I could see that Rosie (robot main from the futuristic cartoon) is not far off at that price point I can see a kitchen where I program the robot what to cook and it gets done.  I hope they also figure out what to do about short-circuits and water so it can do the clean up as well.  Wouldn't that be awesome?

At that price point and considering a few years of eating out far less I think it would actually be economical in the near future.  I am trying to figure out what sort of features would facilitate my own Rosie - I am thinking pantry shelves where "Rosie" can read the UPC codes easily.  Maybe they will create a grid and I can just program the grid to know where things are and Rosie would take it from there.  I am so looking forward to the future while I enjoy now.

 

Jan 21, 2013 06:12 AM #6
Rainer
102,879
Bernadette A. James
Serving Sugar Land, Missouri City, Richmond and Pearland - Sugar Land, TX
Broker-Associate, Keller Williams Realty SW

These are some fantastic ideas to share with my clients who are thinking about building their homes.

Jun 02, 2013 12:25 AM #7
Rainmaker
56,080
CJ Johnson
David Weekley Homes - San Antonio, TX
Sales Consultant - Build On Your Lot @ DWH

Great list.  I have just started with a builder and will add this to my customers for their considerations.  Thanks for sharing.

Dec 13, 2013 01:45 AM #8
Rainmaker
2,393,904
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Caroline - Thank you for the excellent list of information about twelve new construction home features to consider adding to your wish list.

Dec 13, 2013 08:33 AM #9
Anonymous
Anon

As an electrician, let me just say number 12 is great, so glad you included that tip. One thing to note, ensure the PVC is dark gray schedule 40 rated for electrical and not the thin white stuff for plumbing. Otherwise, you will not be able to utilize it to fish 120VAC or higher under your drive.

Apr 18, 2017 08:29 PM #10
Rainer
121,495
Elizabeth Bouchard
Long & Foster Realtors - Arlington, VA
Associate Broker in Northern Virginia

Great suggestions.  And things most buyers wouldn't think about during the process of building.  I work with several builders and have clients building new homes and will keep this list handy for suggestions.

 

Apr 25, 2018 01:25 PM #14
Rainer
1,715
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May 09, 2018 01:13 AM #15
Anonymous
Brad Graham

Thanks for sharing these brilliant list. I am always looking for ways to improve my skills in construction industry. I am doing most of what you have suggested and I’m pretty sure this will be extremely helpful for my next projects. Keep it up!

Jul 01, 2018 12:07 AM #18
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Caroline DeVore, Stowe Vermont Lodging, VT Bed and Breakfast Inn, Vacation Homes

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